Last summer it was Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and Ed McMahon. I remember the day I heard about Ms. Fawcett well, as I was on my way to another Farrah Fawcett's house for our first official book club get together. That's really her name, although getting married added McCullough onto the end. It's a fun ice-breaker and we all get a kick out of referring to our friend, Farrah Fawcett. It still seems weird that the ever-strange Michael Jackson is gone, and there is a generation who I think misses those giant Publisher's Clearing House checks Mr. McMahon was so well-known for delivering to our doors. My grandmother was actually a finalist once for that famous sweepstakes, got the script in the mail and everything. But sadly, Ed ended up knocking on someone else's door.
This week within seven days, the world said goodbye to Gary Coleman, Dennis Hopper, and Rue McClanahan. I am of the generation who enjoyed "Different Strokes," "What's Happening, "Gimme a Break," and "Silver Spoons," so me and Gary go way back. While living in Pisa, Chris and I were thrilled to find several instances where it seemed someone was paying Mr. Coleman homage in the form of street art. It made us happy to see an old, familiar face from both our childhoods on the side of a building in Florence or Milan. It was like a note left for us to find, a piece of home we could appreciate and pose in front of.
We took this picture on our first New Year's Eve in Florence, the last night of 2004. This was our first Gary sighting of many.
"Golden Girls" also happened to be one of my favorite shows on TV as a child, though now it seems a bit odd that I enjoyed a show about elderly women so much as a kid. Rue McClanahan's character, Blanch, will be sorely missed for her brazen displays of sexuality on TV, reminding us that there is sex after menopause. Even if it was just a TV show, it made a difference on the landscape of television, something that reaches most people, and that's something. When I was in the hospital late last year, Chris brought me some DVDs from the library to keep me entertained from my adjustable bed. One of them was the first season of "Golden Girls," a surprising pick, as I hadn't watched the show in years. I watched the whole season by the time my 3 days was up.
I don't know if there's anything to the whole thing about tragedy coming in 3s. I guess you tend to find whatever it is you go looking for. Either way, it's hard when pieces of your past start to die, whether it's old TV stars, musicians, or the movie theater you frequented growing up. Nothing is forever, I suppose; everything passes. All we can do is remember them for their being here to have an impact on our days and try to appreciate the little things that do the same these days.
* I first put up this post as it is above, only realizing I hadn't even mentioned these real people's real lives or their grieving families and friends until I was falling asleep. That wasn't an intentional omission, so I wanted to add on my condolences for the people I'll never know, but who have lost a loved one, nonetheless. Perhaps there lies comfort in knowing these loved ones are missed by many people for many reasons, that they touched people enough to be remembered. *